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Posted: 02/14/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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Politics of racism

Re: Brazeau symbolic of Harper's indifference to First Nations, (Feb. 11). A few weeks ago Don Marks was telling Canadians not to be smug about racism but on Monday he was feeling smug enough to ascribe a general racist attitude: "First Nations people throughout the land decried Brazeau as an 'apple' (red on the outside and white in the middle)."

Marks seems to have difficulty understanding why the prime minister didn't disavow Brazeau on the basis of a racist value judgment which isn't quite as sad as his suggesting there are many First Nations people holding such views.

Marks accuses the federal government of making the demands to have Gov. Gen. (David Johnston) attend policy meetings appear "naive and frivolous" right after telling us it is now politically incorrect to use the term, 'aboriginal.'

He refers to treaties as "sacred." What makes treaties sacred? The use of such reverential language is to mystify and inhibit critical thought. The idea of sacred treaties is a conspicuous lapse in separating religion from state and it is a peculiar kind of vanity to suppose one's contracts are writ so large.

MICHAEL MELANSON

Winnipeg

Funding schools

I notice that Coun. Russ Wyatt, the deputy mayor, is leading the annual city council campaign to remove school taxes from the property tax bill. However, city council has no trouble helping school boards pay some of their costs.

In 2012, per-capita grants totalling about $24,000 helped fund scholarships, graduations, and other school activities. Community incentive grants are being used to rebuild school playgrounds. In 2012, these grants totalled about $257,000. If city council really wants to get out of collecting school taxes, they should stop funding all school activities.

FRED MORRIS

Winnipeg

Unjust funding

Re: Grey area (Feb 9). Real Cloutier, of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, fails to recognize our facility's current capability to accommodate those who are in need of more care than residing in assisted-living facilities -- with periodic homecare visits.

The hospitals and WRHA community workers place their clients with us for a reason (ie. difficulty coping/unsafe in their homes). With some government funding we would be able to have more services, and care for even more 'heavy' care residents -- keeping them out of personal care homes for a longer period of time and reducing emergency room visits by being proactive in terms of health monitoring. It is cost efficient and the care is more comprehensive with the 24-hour coverage.

We have been providing this level of care for thousands of residents for 40+ years without any government financial assistance. The fact that other facilities receive substantial compensation is unjust and discriminatory.

JOCELYN THORVALDSON

Thorvaldson Care Center

Winnipeg

Indelible harm

Tim Dahlberg notes how the Joe Paterno family is attempting to exonerate Joe (now deceased) from culpability in the Penn State sexual-abuse scandal (Paterno family's report desperate PR move, Feb. 11). The report claims that Joe knew very little about what Jerry Sandusky was doing to young boys. They claim that the initial investigation was full of errors.

The sexually abused young boys have been harmed for life and will pay every day until they die for what Sandusky did to them. The fact that Penn State immediately acted on the recommendations of the initial report, and fired a number of officials including the Penn State president and Joe Paterno, speaks clearly to the fact that the allegations were true and the university knew it had no choice but to act quickly and decisively. The board of governors of Penn State are to be applauded for their quick actions.

Penn State permitted its brilliant football coach Joe Paterno to gain control not only of the football program but many other sectors of the university's operations. Many organizations with strong charismatic leaders fail to place checks and balances within the organization and the lack of controls enables strong leaders to act corruptly.

KEN REDDIG

Pinawa

Economic drag

Mia Rabson has done an excellent job in explaining a Statistics Canada report on growing income inequality (Richest Manitobans see biggest growth; Bottom 50 per cent get only modest gain, Feb. 9). However, the article may have left the impression that personal income taxation compensates for growing pre-tax income inequality. This is certainly not the case in Manitoba or Canada as a whole.

The Gini Coefficient is a standard measure of economic inequality, according to which 0 indicates perfect equality and 1 represents perfect inequality.

The Gini Coefficient for all of Canada for after tax income for all economic family units was .351 in 1982 and .395 in 2010, an increase of 12.5 per cent. For Manitoba, it was .359 in 1982 and .365 in 2010, an increase of 1.7 per cent.

Clearly, the personal income taxation system must become more progressive and income-support benefits more substantial to stem the trend of growing economic inequality. This is an important issue because the evidence is clear that inequality is a drag on economic growth, as reported by the Conference Board of Canada, and is associated with social conflict and increased premature mortality at all income levels.

SID FRANKEL

Winnipeg

Poor coverage

Very disappointing. Matt Dunstone makes the shot of the weekend to win the first junior men's gold in 11 years and is relegated to a few lines in a story on the second-place finisher in the junior women's (Birchard comes up just short of gold, Feb. 11).

Congratulations and good luck to Dunstone.

DONNA G. ROBINSON

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 14, 2013 A14

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